A Tree That Sings
BY AWAKE! CORRESPONDENT IN KENYA
IN THE boundless grasslands of Africa stands a tree that often sings. The tree is of the acacia species and is known as the whistling thorn. Why? Because when the wind rushes through the delicate branches, the tree seemingly lifts its voice.
A lovely, lilting sound is produced when the tree’s unusually long and slender thorns vibrate in the wind. Adding to the melody of the thorns, the tree’s hollow galls produce a sound much like that of an empty bottle when air is blown across its mouth. These “instruments” are formed by ants, who are said to hollow out the galls, the ants’ spherical homes, and carve tiny entrance and exit holes in them. Because the galls and holes are of differing sizes, they produce sounds of differing pitch. These sounds add to the uniqueness and beauty of the whistling thorn.
This tree reminds us of the words of the psalmist who declared figuratively: “Let all the trees of the forest break out joyfully [in song] before Jehovah.” (Psalm 96:12, 13) Indeed, when the wind flows over the thorns and the flutelike galls, it produces sounds that are a lovely, emotive song of Africa.